Why go to a writer conference? (Or any conference for that matter.) Because there’s a huge upside beyond the incredible pool, breakfast buffet, and time away from responsibility of home.
I recently returned from the annual Florida Authors and Publishers Association Conference (FAPA) in Orlando, and thought I’d not only summarize my experience but possibly convince you to attend that event you’ve been sitting on the fence about. Sometimes we don’t do the things we want to do because that little voice in our head discourages us.
You shouldn’t spend money on yourself. You could use that time to do such and such. You aren’t a real writer.
Evil little voice, just hush.
Okay, to clarify, the conference I attended was for authors, publishers, and other related vendors—not technically a writer conference—but the topics presented were those that writers working toward publication need to know. And even though I’m discussing an author conference, I believe the same benefits result from most any type event.
What are these benefits?
Leave your comfort zone.
This is big for me. I consider myself to be an extroverted introvert. I’m quite content staying home, writing, and puttering in my yard. Traveling to a conference filled with people I don’t know isn’t on the top of my bucket list. For this particular conference, I was asked to teach a class, speak on book marketing, and participate in an expert roundtable. Three things! It would have been easy for me to decline the invitation in favor of working in my garden.
But I said yes without hesitation. I’ve learned that to grow we have to push ourselves and do the things that make us uncomfortable. And it was extra difficult for me because I missed my favorite blogger conference—Megaphone Summit—which was happening the same weekend in the town where I live.
Learn new things.
There’s always something new to learn, especially with the pace of technological change in our world. Take notes. Gather business cards and pamphlets. Ask questions. Hearing from speakers who have real-life history and perspective is priceless and can’t be duplicated from a webinar. Much of the magic happens between events, during lunch, and after dinner when casual discussions take place. Fully participate and you will leave with a spinning mind filled with new information and ideas.
Like most industries, publishing is often about who you know and who knows you. Networking is key to growing your business, whatever your business might be. Conferences bring connections together under one roof which makes the event even more powerful. When you get home, follow up with those connections and stay in touch.
Make new friends.
There are always two or three people I bond with on a personal level. And when I leave, I know I’ve made friends beyond social media. Writing is solitary business. We need these like-minded friends in our tribe.
Recharge and refresh.
You will leave the conference recharged, refreshed, maybe even rested. Definitely ready to write. Change of perspective is a mighty strong thing.
Why go to a writer conference? Sometimes we need to step away from normal and simply have fun. Life doesn’t revolve around our particular problems, our city or state, our perception of truth. We need to remember it’s a small world after all, and laughter is the best medicine. It might even cure writer’s block.
A big thank you to FAPA for a great conference, the Hilton Orlando Buena Vista Palace for such an incredible venue, speakers who provided priceless information, and my new friends for making it so enjoyable!
Grace Grits and Gardening
Farm. Food. Garden. Life.
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It’s a Small World, JHM Jams Cover